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02.01.2012, 15:02
Two more steps towards Spain
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Matches three and four in first qualification stage of 2013 World Championship.
 

Two more steps towards Spain

The Men’s EHF EURO 2012 in Serbia (15–29 January 2012) is just a few days away, but before that comes a crucial phase of European qualification for the Men’s 2013 World Championships in Spain, with 28 matches taking place.

21 teams compete for seven places in the play-offs for Spain, which will take place in June 2012. And after the first two rounds in those seven groups the wheat is already being separated from the chaff.

All teams from Pot 2 of the draw have won their respective home and away matches against the teams from Pot 3 – and now those losers from the first Round will have to face against the teams of Pot 1 in tough home and away matches between 4 and 8 January.

The group winners won’t be decided until Rounds 5 and 6, which will be played from 11 – 15 January.

The seven group winners qualify for the nine play-off matches – while the remaining eleven teams are the ones which do not get a direct qualification place for Spain 2013 at the EHF EURO in Serbia. Spain (hosts) and France (defending World champions) have already qualified for Spain 2013, while the three best ranked teams from Serbia get a clear passage through to the World Championship.

These play-offs will be played in a knockout system with first and second leg matches at two weekends.

For information on where you can watch some of these matches, please check our weekly TV guide HERE.

Match Schedule
Leg 1: Saturday/Sunday 09/10 June 2012
Leg 2: Saturday/Sunday 16/17 June 2012

The nine winners of the play-off matches will qualify for the final tournament of the 2013 Men's World Championship in Spain. The fixtures for Phase 2 – Play-Off Matches will be drawn on 29 January 2012 in Belgrade, Serbia.

Group 1: Austria, Israel, Great Britain

Round 3

Austria vs. Great Britain
5 January 2012, 20:20 hrs (local time), Tulln

Round 4

Great Britain vs. Austria
8 January 2012 14:00 hrs (local time), London

After their two defeats against Israel, Great Britain are the underdogs once again against the Austrians who took part in the 2011 World Championship finals in Sweden, but missed out on qualification for the EHF EURO 2012 against Iceland and Germany.

Group 2: Portugal, Ukraine, Turkey

Round 3

Portugal vs. Turkey
4 January 2012 20:15 hrs (local time), Lamego

Round 4

Turkey vs. Portugal
8 January 19:00 hrs (local time), Mersin

After a close home (and a clear away) defeat against Ukraine, Turkey will be aiming to secure their first points against Portugal, while in their home match the Iberians are the favourites.

Group 3: Montenegro, Latvia, Belgium

Round 3

Montenegro vs. Belgium
4 January 2012 18:00 hrs (local time), Cetinje

Round 4

Belgium vs. Montenegro
7 January 2012 20:00 hrs (local time), Tournai

The more experienced Balkan team do not have any doubts to take four points from the encounters with Belgium, which lost both games against Latvia.

Group 4: Estonia, Netherlands, Finland

Round 3

Estonia vs. Finland
5 January 2012 20:00 hrs (local time), Polva

Round 4

Finland vs. Estonia
7 January 2012 13:30 hrs (local time), Karis

Neighbours Finland and Estonia are expected to fight out a close battle. Finland fought well against the Netherlands, and were unlucky to lose twice in their opening games. And Estonia will hope for goal to come from newly-crowned Handball Player of the Year Mait Patrail.

Group 5: Lithuania, Switzerland, Italy

Round 3

Lithuania vs. Italy
5 January 19:00 hrs (local time), Vilnius

Round 4

Italy vs. Lithuania
7 January 2012 21:00 hrs (local time), Cologna

After being close to causing an upset in their home match against Switzerland, the Italians will again be hoping to make the most of home advantage against Lithuania. But the Lithuanians, with players from leagues all over Europe, are the favourites.

Group 6: Greece, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Cyprus

Round 3

Greece vs. Cyprus
4 January 19:00 hrs (local time), Thessaloniki

Round 4

Cyprus vs. Greece
8 January 2012 17:00 hrs (local time), Nicosia

This will be another emotionally-charged battle of neighbours, but the outcome is perhaps easier to predict. A large number of the Greek players play in Germany, so they are the favourites against Cyprus, who lost both encounters against Bosnia last year.

Group 7: Belarus, Romania, Luxembourg

Round 3

Belarus vs. Luxembourg
4 January 2012 19:00 hrs (local time), Mogilev

Round 4

Luxembourg vs. BLR Belarus
7 January 2012 19:00 hrs (local time), Crauthem

Five times EHF Champions League winner Siarhei Rutenka will lead Belarus against the small handball nation Luxembourg. Despite their brave fight at home against Romania, the Benelux team have next to no chance against the tall and powerful Belarussians.

The final and decisive matches in the Qualification Round 1 of the World Championship 2013:

Round 5: Wednesday/Thursday 11/12 January 2012
Round 6: Saturday/Sunday 14/15 January 2012

For more information about the World Championship 2013, please visit the official website HERE.


TEXT: Björn Pazen
 
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